Thursday, October 20, 2011
Bumper stickers are funny. Sometimes they're stupid ("9/11 was an inside job") and sometimes they're silly ("Visualize whirled peas") but just the concept is pretty funny. One day, 40 years or so, somebody thought, "Let's think of some pithy statement that defines our whole lives or, barring that, "I love Joe's Crab Shack!" and let's make it so sticky that it will NEVER come off, and let's stick it on the back of the car that represents the second most expensive thing we own.
I wish I could have gotten a picture of the little hatchback that started this line of thinking. It cut in front of me on the way to work yesterday, maybe because the back windshield was artistically covered with bumper stickers, apparently representing a variety of goth bands. The front windshield had 6 bumper stickers on it--also strategically arranged--which I am pretty sure is not legal. (Is it still called a bumper sticker if it's on a window?)
I know that many people express their most deeply held values on these tiny sticky billboards. Austin is definitely a bumper sticker city, mostly announcing blue-state sentiments in the middle of the reddest state in the country. (Some of them would invite vandalism in Odessa or Beaumont or Dime Box.) At Mowgli's school, it seems that every other car has the "Coexist" sticker on it. When we lived in Clear Lake, the back window stickers displaying your child's name and all his/her extracurricular activities were requisite. Here, it's the tie-dyed "Keep Austin Weird."
I understand what motivates the political ("HOPE") or value-driven ("Abortion stops a beating heart") or religious ("Honk if you love Jesus!") or school spirit ("Sic 'Em Bears"). But every now and then, I see a bumper sticker proclaiming something like "I *heart* TCBY" and I wonder, "Really? You love frozen yogurt enough to make it the singular statement of your life and then display it on your car? Really? That's the best you've got?" I can be fairly judgmental.
In the last presidential election, I saw a bumper sticker that I really liked and considered getting it until I remembered that I am aesthetically opposed to sticking things on my car. Antipathy toward bumper stickers trumped civic pride. If I ever DO get a bumper sticker, though--which I never will--my favorite is one that came out about a decade ago. It reads, "God bless the whole world. No exceptions." Amen.
Posted by T at 10/20/2011 08:26:00 PM